Sunday, 20 November 2011

Peter Sellers: I'm all right Jack - 1959

I'm All Right Jack was a 1959 British comedy directed and produced by John & Roy Boulting from a script by Frank Harvey, John Boulting and Alan Hackney, based on the novel Private Life by Hackney. The film is a sequel to the Boulting's 1956 film Privates Progress with Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry Thomas, and Miles Malleson all reprising their characters from the earlier film. Peter Sellers played one of his best-known roles as the trade union Shop Steward Fred Kite, and won a Best Actor Award from The British Academy. The rest of the cast included many well-known British comedy actors of the time.

The film is a satire on British industrial life in the 1950s. The trade unions, workers, and bosses are all seen to be incompetent or corrupt to varying degrees. The film is one of a number of satires made by the Boulting Brothers between 1956 and 1963.


After leaving the army and returning to university, newly-graduated upper class Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael) is looking for a job but fails miserably at interviews for various entry-level management positions. Stanley's uncle, Bertram Tracepurcel (Dennis Price), and his old army comrade, Sidney DeVere Cox (Richard Attenborough), persuade him to take an unskilled blue-collar job at Uncle Bertram's missile factory despite Aunt Dolly's (Margaret Rutherford) misgivings.

At first suspicious of the overeager newcomer, communist shop steward Fred Kite (Peter Sellers) takes Stanley under his wing and even offers to take him in as a lodger. When Kite's curvaceous daughter Cynthia (Liz Fraser) drops by, Stanley readily accepts.

Meanwhile, personnel manager Major Hitchcock (Terry Thomas) is assigned a time and motion study expert, Waters (John Le Mesurier), to measure how efficient the employees are. The workers refuse to cooperate, but Waters tricks Windrush into showing him how much more quickly he can do his job than other, more experienced employees. When Kite is informed of the results, he calls a company-wide strike to protect the rates his union workers are being paid.

This is exactly what Cox and Tracepurcel want. Cox owns a company that can take over a large new contract with a Middle Eastern country at an inflated cost. He, Tracepurcel, and Mr. Mohammed (Marne Maitland), the country's representative, would each pocket a third of the £100,000 difference.

But things don't quite work out for either side. Cox arrives at his factory to find that his workers are walking out in sympathy for Kite and his strikers. The press reports that Kite is punishing Windrush for working hard. When Windrush decides to cross the picket line and go back to work (and reveals his connection with the company's owner), Kite asks him to leave his house. This provokes the adoring Cynthia, and her mother (Irene Handl), to call their own private walkout strike. More strikes spring up, bringing the country to a standstill.

Faced with these new developments, Tracepurcel has no choice but to send Hitchcock to negotiate with Kite. They reach an agreement, but Windrush has made both sides look bad and has to go. Cox tries to bribe him with a bagful of money to resign quietly, but Windrush turns him down. On a televised discussion programme moderated by Malcolm Muggeridge (playing himself), Windrush reveals to the nation the underhanded motivations of all concerned. When he throws Cox's bribe money into the air, the studio audience riots. In the end, Windrush is convicted of causing a disturbance and everyone else is exonerated. He is last seen with his father (Miles Malleson), relaxing at a nudist colony, only to have to flee from the female residents' attentions.


I'm All Right Jack

original film poster
Directed byJohn Boulting
Produced byRoy Boulting
Screenplay byFrank Harvey
John Boulting
Based onPrivate Life by
Alan Hackney
StarringIan Carmichael
Peter Sellers
Richard Attenborough
Margaret Rutherford
Terry Thomas
Music byKen Hare
Ron Goodwin
CinematographyMutrz Greenbaum
Editing byAnthony Harvey
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release date(s)18 August 1959
Running time101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

No comments:

Post a Comment